Sports

Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners

Reference
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List of famous Olympic gold medal winners from every event, with photos of the athletes when available. These historic Olympic gold medal winners are listed by popularity, so the most historic Olympians are at the top of the list. Olympic medalists who have won the gold medal are among an elite group, as many athletes who train their entire lives will never even qualify for the Olympics. The famous Olympic competitors on this list may have either competed in the Summer Olympics or Winter Olympics, but what they all have in common is that they each took home a gold medal.

The list you're viewing contains people like Michael Phelps and Kobe Bryant.

If you're trying to answer the questions, "Which Olympians have won a gold medal?" and "How many people have won an Olympic gold medal?" then this list has you covered.

This list includes notable gold medal winners from almost every Olympics. They didn't all get their own Wheaties boxes, but every person who has ever won a gold medal is impressive enough to be included in this list.
1
Michael Phelps is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Michael Fred Phelps II (born June 30, 1985) is an American retired competitive swimmer and the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 medals. Phelps also ...more
2
Carl Lewis is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis (born July 1, 1961) is an American former track and field athlete who won nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and 10 World Championships ...more
3
Mark Spitz is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Mark Andrew Spitz (born February 10, 1950) is an American former competitive swimmer and nine-time Olympic champion. He won seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, all in world ...more
4
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Track and field athletics
Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee (born March 3, 1962) is an American retired track and field athlete, ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the heptathlon as well as long jump. She won three ...more
5
Clara Hughes is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Speed skating, Road cycling
Clara Hughes, (born September 27, 1972) is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater who has won multiple Olympic medals in both sports. Hughes won two bronze in the 1996 Summer Olympics and four ...more
6
Jesse Owens is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Track and field athletics
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens (September 12, 1913 – March 31, 1980) was an American track and field athlete and four-time gold medalist in the 1936 Olympic Games. Owens specialized in ...more
7
Ole Einar Bjørndalen is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Biathlon
Ole Einar Bjørndalen (born 27 January 1974) is a retired Norwegian professional biathlete, often referred to by the nickname, the "King of Biathlon". With 13 Winter Olympic ...more
8
Shawn Johnson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Artistic gymnastics
Shawn Machel Johnson East (born January 19, 1992) is an American former artistic gymnast. She is the 2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and team, all-around and floor exercise silver ...more
9
Angela Ruggiero is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Ice Hockey
Angela Marie Ruggiero (born January 3, 1980) is an American former ice hockey defenseman. She is a member of the International Olympic Committee. She served as an ex officio member the Executive ...more
10
Matt Biondi is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Matthew Nicholas Biondi (born October 8, 1965) is an American former competition swimmer, eleven-time Olympic medalist, and former world record-holder in five events. Biondi competed in the ...more
11
Halvard Hanevold is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Biathlon
Halvard Hanevold (born 3 December 1969) is a former Norwegian biathlete.
12
Paavo Nurmi is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Paavo Johannes Nurmi (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈpɑːʋo ˈnurmi] (listen); 13 June 1897 – 2 October 1973) was a Finnish middle-distance and long-distance runner. He was called the "Flying ...more
13
Armin Zöggeler is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Luge
Armin Zöggeler OMRI (born 4 January 1974) is a retired Italian luger and double Olympic champion. He is one of the most successful men in the sport, nicknamed Il Cannibale ("The ...more
14
Natalie Coughlin is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Natalie Anne Coughlin Hall (born August 23, 1982) is an American competition swimmer and twelve-time Olympic medalist. While attending the University of California, Berkeley, she became the ...more
15
Apolo Ohno is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Short track speed skating
Apolo Anton Ohno (; born May 22, 1982) is an American retired short track speed skating competitor and an eight-time medalist (two gold, two silver, four bronze) in the Winter Olympics. Ohno is ...more
16
Jason Lezak is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Jason Edward Lezak (born November 12, 1975) is an American former competition swimmer and a four-time Olympic gold medalist. He swam for Rose Bowl Aquatics. He graduated from Irvine High School ...more
17
Anja Pärson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Alpine skiing
Anja Sofia Tess Pärson (Swedish pronunciation: [²anːja ˈpæːʂɔn]; born 25 April 1981) is a Swedish former alpine skier. She is an Olympic gold medalist, seven-time gold medalist ...more
18
Dmitri Sautin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Dmitri Ivanovich Sautin (Russian: Дмитрий Иванович Саутин; born 15 March 1974) is a Russian diver who has won more medals than any other Olympic diver. He was born in Voronezh. Sautin started ...more
19
Greg Louganis is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Gregory Efthimios Louganis (;born January 29, 1960) is an American Olympic diver, LGBT activist, and author who won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics, on both the springboard and ...more
20
Dara Torres is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Dara Grace Torres (born April 15, 1967) is an American former competitive swimmer, who is a 12-time Olympic medalist and former world record-holder in three events. Torres is the first swimmer ...more
21
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Basketball
LeBron Raymone James Sr. (; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His accomplishments ...more
22
Amanda Beard is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Amanda Ray Beard (born October 29, 1981), also known by her married name Amanda Brown, is an American swimmer and a seven-time Olympic medalist (two gold, four silver, one bronze). She is a ...more
23
Jenny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Jennifer Beth Thompson (born February 26, 1973) is an American former competition swimmer and anesthesiologist. She is one of the most decorated Olympians in history: twelve medals, including ...more
24
Cathy Freeman is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Track and field athletics
Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman, (born 16 February 1973) is an Australian former sprinter, who specialised in the 400 metres event. She would occasionally compete in other track events, but 400m ...more
25
Klete Keller is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Olympic Gold Medal Winners
Swimming
Klete D. Keller (born March 21, 1982) is an American former competition swimmer who won medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2004 Summer Olympics in the 400-meter freestyle and the ...more